"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break" - so says an ancient Chinese belief. And with such a wonderful sentiment, Lisa Tilse named her business The Red Thread. After studying visual communication design at Sydney College of the Arts (UTS) and working as a senior designer in Australia and the UK, she started her own business in 2005.
Which five words best describe you? Visual, calm, creative, open, nurturing.
What's your proudest achievement? I'm hoping the best is yet to come, but I do feel proud that I have always made a living from doing what I love. On a smaller scale whenever someone buys my work it's like a little affirmation that I'm on the right track and it feels good to know that someone will get pleasure from something I created. And on a personal level I am proud of my beautiful four year old daughter who is an absolute delight.
Who inspires you? So many people for so many reasons! Brilliant creative people whose work I admire like Dutch designer Tord Boontje, architect Frank Gehry and illustrators from the '50s and '60s like Alain Gree. The resurgence of craft and indie crafters is a never-ending source of inspiration to me. There are so many talented and creative people who are making beautiful things, as evidenced on a grass roots level by etsy and madeit. People who champion humanitarian causes: I recently discovered the website freerice.com which was set up by John Breen in conjunction with the UN World Food Program to help end world hunger. I'm sure we all think that as individuals we can't possibly impact something as huge as world hunger, but John Breen has done something about it, and what's fantastic is that freerice.com allows every one of us to make a contribution. It's fun and it's free. I'm inspired by people that take action.
What are you passionate about? I'm passionate about design, art and creating. I don't seem to have an off switch.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? That's a tough one. I'm going to cop out here because I can't think of one that stands out. There are so many lessons...
If you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be? I would give anything to see my dear Mum again and for her to meet my daughter Roxy.
What's next? I have lots of new product ideas which I'd like to develop for The Red Thread. I'm also very excited to be embarking on a new venture with a business partner. It's the perfect scenario for me: he will handle the business side and I will be able to concentrate on designing. I haven't had that luxury before.
What are you reading? Quite a mixed bag of things. I am totally addicted to reading blogs at the moment - it's such a wonderful way to feel connected to the global creative community. I really do spend too much time going from one blog to another, but I find them fascinating and inspiring. One of my favourite authors is Barbara Kingsolver - I loved her book The Poisonwood Bible. I am currently reading her account of her family's year of eating only food they have grown themselves or sourced from their local community. It's called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Our Year of Seasonal Living. I am also dipping in and out of Handmade Nation: The rise of DIY, Art, Craft and Design. And I am on the last pages of The Unthinkable. Who Survives When Disaster Strikes - And Why. It's a fascinating personal account of survivors of disasters, and the science of how the mind and body respond to crisis. I told you it was a mixed bag!
Images courtesy of The Red Thread